Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 11: Home Sick

The morning after the rescue of the town of Mossington, the heroes awaken having slept fitfully. Seraphina finds herself severely hungover; Othfir, however, is on the other side of the scale, mopping up the spilled ale in the Hearty Haybale with a mop and squeezing the dregs into his mouth. Geandur attempts to cheer up one of Mossington’s ladies with a little seduction, but she is not in the mood and word spreads among the women to avoid any so called help from the barbarian. One of the council dwarves is preparing to report back to the council and Seraphina stops to send another message. She had a dream of toxic fog in ominous shapes. The dwarf promises to deliver the message and heads out.

Meanwhile Geandur has come across the mourning widow of the late mayor. He is able to distract her for a little by asking about the history of Mossington. She tells him the legend of Mossington’s beginning. The story says that a heroic halfling was in the midst of battle, and in his greatest moment of need, he called out to the halfling goddess of the heavens for aid. The goddess sent the stars themselves to scourge the halfling’s enemies. The battle won, the stars left their mark upon the land that would become Mossington and took the form of the fruits that grow among the buildings.

Balas, sporting the world’s biggest shiner, has instructed Willander to remain in Mossington with one of the groups of archers, while he and Orpec return to Tanivas with the rest of their company to report. The heroes decide to join them and bid farewell to the halflings, promising that they will overcome this tragedy.Balas spends the journey mostly in silence, not even noticing that Geandur had swiped his majestic red cloak.The heroes out of either pity or spite talk just loud anough about how great the plan was that Balas came up with.

A day or so later, they allarrive at Tanivas. They are met immediately by Pilau with her bodyguards. The heroes report on the horrific events of Mossington, Othfir describing his own violent killings of the orcs in great detail. They give Balas credit for the plan, though Geandur whispers to the mayor that she should strongly consider who she trusts in her leadership roles. The heroes then head into town to replenish supplies and in some cases, treat hangovers. Arradon, Morningstar, and Othfir stop in at D’Arvin’s Arrow Shack where Arradon and Morningstar have the gnome create some toxic arrows with the venom they harvested from the scorpion. Othfir asks if the crafty gnome can make some improvements on a javelin, a challenge that D’Arvin wholeheartedly accepts. Meanwhile Geandur asks the town blacksmith if he can work with  the late Tym’s twisted metal blade, as well as the scorpion armor. The blacksmith says he’ll see what he can do.

Seraphina, having eaten a lettuce-wrapped slice of lamb from Mutton To Hide, is no longer feeling hungover, but is still feeling  lost and worn out by all the bloodshed. She goes to the pastures and sits among the oversized sheep. She removes the vial of myconid spores from her bag and gazes at it curiously. She lets a small puff out of the vial, inhaling it. Moments later she hears a couple disembodied voices. The voices speak to no one in particular about how wonderful grass is and how they hope not to be shorn since the weather is getting cold. Flummoxed, Seraphina projects a question in her mind, asking the speakers to stand up. The voices delightfully claim that they’re already standing.  As the voices fade, Seraphina looks around for any myconids, but only sees Geandur approaching.

Geandur drops down next to her and starts up a conversation about her magical skill and his mistrust of magic. The young aasimar isn’t really in the mood to talk to the bloodthirsty barbarian, but having no energy to argue talks a little bit about the mysterious nature of her powers. The conversation turns to the bloody nature of their journey and Geandur reassures Seraphina that killing will get easier. This dowsn’t comfort her much, but Geandur promises to teach her ways to hold up mentally and emotionally against the horrors of battle.

While Othfir drinks himself to satisfaction, Geandur heads to the local brothel and Seraphina gathers Morningstar and Arradon to check on the diseased patient. Fenton Kutcher says the patient has bled some more and has recently started rasping wordlessly. The heroes take a look for themselves and find that his right hand is also twitching, fingers stretching erratically. Seraphina hands Kutcher a quill and asks if maybe the poor fellow is trying to communicate something. The doc suits up in his plague-doctor gear and walks warily through the two doors into the quarantined room. The quill is placed into the twitching hand. Seconds later, the arm shoots out, lashing out at Kutcher with the quill. Kutcher freaks and scrambles out into the hallway, slamming the two doors behind him. The heroes then watch in horror as the handrips itself from its arm and begins scuttling around the room. Seraphina runs off to find Geandur, the team’s resident disease expert.

The poor teen has to search the brothel to find Geandur, who is enjoying a lap dance at the time. Seraphina gives the dancer a gold piece and tells her to leave. She complies and Geandur grumpily asks her what the deal is. She finally convinces him to come to the lab and they run into a drunken Othfir on their way. While they were gone, the diseased body took another turn for the worse. Its ears had grown and stretched and awful shrieks were coming from its mouth.

Against the groups better judgment, Geandur demands the key from Kutcher and storms into the patient's room, the doors closing behind him. He uses his sword and skewers the disembodied hand. He yells at Kutcher to get a container to put the hand in, while the body continues to shriek. While the doc runs off, Geandur yells at the body to shut up. Instead the body's head pulls itself off the body, continuing the shriek and flail around on the floor. Geandur lights up one of his molotov cocktails and tosses it on the head.

Kutcher returns as the shrill screams die down. He hands Geandur a bucket. The indignant barbarian demands something with a cover like a pickle jar. Soon enough, Kutcher returns with a jar of pickles. The heroes eat the entirety of the pickles, Morningstar downing the remaining juice. Geandur finally stuffs the slightly twitching hand into the jar, and the heroes consider their options after this bizarre incident.

Later that evening, while cleaning the Mossington remnants off, Seraphina realizes that the voices in her head were the giant sheep, and she facepalms, feeling foolish. 

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snakeskinjones

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